The Sapphire Coast Stingrays Aussie Rules contingent will welcome 10 debutants this year says coach, Luke Taylor.
Ahead of the team’s final training session on Wednesday night Taylor said the rep program was building strength in the area with jersey presentations and a big team dinner capping off the rep training period.
“There was a 40-man squad and it’s awesome to have that great response of people wanting to come on board,” Taylor said.
“Unfortunately a couple of guys will miss out, but that’s a great problem to have because it means we have strength and depth in the team and we’re at the level want to get to.”
Taylor said the league had welcomed the rise of some immensely talented young guns and he was looking forward to introducing the 10 newcomers to the Stingrays fraternity.
“We’ve definitely got the best talent available in the league on show,” he said.
“Will Regan from Merimbula is only 17 and looking very sharp – his dad Ronnie was a permanent fixture in past rep sides so it’s great to see Will building on that heritage.
Taylor also heaped praise on Narooma’s Jai Reed, who is part of the GWS Giants Academy program and a likely inclusion on Saturday, but is possibly out with club duties.
“And James Wheeler from the Panthers should put on a great show in his first rep outing,” Taylor said.
“They’re the three younger guys that I’m really looking forward to seeing how they go.
“With the calibre of players we have around, they could put on a great show.”
Merimbula’s Daniel Worden has been named captain, while Pambula’s Stephen Butterworth will serve as vice-captain for the squad with Taylor describing the pair as top line players within the league.
“They’re both fundamental to the leadership of their home clubs and we know they’ll do a great job directing the guys on the weekend,” Taylor said.
Last year the rep round was hosted at Berrambool Oval, where the Stingrays outclassed a visiting Canberra division three outfit, but Taylor believes the South Coast will be a bigger challenge.
“We definitely feel the South Coast are a step above – we put Canberra to the sword last year and in our own right we’re confident ahead of the weekend,” he said.
“They’ve had our measure in previous encounters over the last decade, but we’re keen to get out there and give it a good shake.”
The match will run at Hanging Rock Oval Batemans Bay from 2pm on Saturday.
Stephen Butterworth (vice-captain)
Daniel Worden (captain)
(Emergency) Jesse Hoyland-Meaker